Ireland's marathon EU election vote finally ends

Ireland's European parliament elections finally concluded early Friday with all 14 seats filled after a marathon five-day count — the longest in the 27-member bloc.

The governing centre-right parties Fine Gael, led by Taoiseach (prime minister) Simon Harris, and Fianna Fail led by deputy premier Micheal Martin won four seats each.

The largest opposition party, the leftist-nationalist Sinn Fein, won two seats while Labour won one and independent candidates picked up the remaining three seats.

Despite Ireland being among the first to vote last Friday it was the last to complete counting.

Local elections also held last Friday held up the European count with ballots having first to be sorted into different piles.

Unlike in most EU states dozens of candidates also stood in several constituencies in Ireland, while voting and counting was done manually rather than electronically.

The main reason behind the drawn-out count was the complicated election system — PR-STV or proportional representation by the single transferable vote — used in Irish elections.

This system allocates second, third and further preference votes of candidates who have been either elected or eliminated to rival candidates, resulting in a protracted series of counts over several days until all seats are filled.

"It's the ultimate display of how the democratic process works. I love it. May it never change," said Luke "Ming" Flanagan, an independent candidate who won a seat.

Candidates waited nervously for days in the count centres watching election officials as surplus votes were transferred from eliminated candidates.

"PR-STV is essentially Ireland's favourite high-adrenaline sport in slow motion," said one commenter on the X...

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